The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a fact sheet outlining telehealth flexibilities and resources as the COVID-19 public health emergency comes to an end. The fact sheet provides information on various aspects of telehealth, including health care coverage, HIPAA compliant communications, tele-behavioral health, prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine, licensure for tele-behavioral health, and broadband access.
During the COVID-19 emergency, Medicare beneficiaries had expanded access to telehealth services without geographical restrictions. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, extended many Medicare telehealth flexibilities until the end of 2024. These flexibilities include access to telehealth services anywhere in the United States, the ability to have telehealth visits at home, and the option for audio-only telehealth visits.
States have flexibility in covering Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) services through telehealth, with policies varying by state. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) encourages states to continue covering telehealth services for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. CMS has released the State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit to assist states in adopting telehealth coverage and payment policies.
Furthermore, HHS’ Telehealth website, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will remain a valuable source of information for patients, providers, and states regarding telehealth. It offers resources on telehealth best practices, policy and reimbursement updates, interstate licensure, broadband access, funding opportunities and upcoming events.
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